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"nobody uses real amps anymore" says the sound guy

Johnny Cache

Member
Messages
571
This made me laugh out loud. Did a fill in gig this past Friday and brought one of my small combos. Sound guy looked at my small combo and frowned and said, "nobody uses real amps anymore." I couldn't help but laugh. Nobody? Okay. Five minutes later, he said the same thing to the bass player who brought his bass amp. The next day I played at an outdoor festival and told the guys running sound about the dude from the night before and it made THEM laugh out loud. They asked if my previous night's gig was at a church LOL!

Not only do I not have any issue with folks who have an ampless rig, I have one myself and use it when it makes sense. But at a club where the crowd noise is so loud we have to shout to each other on stage to hear ourselves, I don't think a small combo is gonna throw off the sound guy's goal of the most precise and stellar mix of all time.
I don't know why, but our new sound guy wants to run monitors through our smart phones. I told him I don't have a smart phone (don't want one). And, we still use a "Real Amps" but we mic them through the system. Besides next year I'm retiring from this band so they don't need to invest much in me.
 

bsrguitar

Member
Messages
354
I keep a FlyRig5 in my bag in case the world ends (meaning I blew up my amp or pedal board, saved me twice now). That said, it is only for backup purposes or a weird fill in gigs / favors on gigs I wouldn't normally book for myself.

This is the Gear Page. We Love Stuff. One of those things for me is amp sound.

I have a couple different wattages of amps, and rule one is I always pick the correct wattage one for the room. Second, I always am conscious of where the sound booth is, and set it up in a way that ensures that my amplifier does not face directly towards the sound man. With a a combination of smart directional angles (AND tipping it towards your head if amp placement would blow the amp sound by your legs), the main beam should be hitting you rather than the sound guy. Using this method I match my guitar volume to the drummer from where I am standing, and let the sound guy do the rest. I never play at volume until the drummer has sound checked with a bass player, I think guitar at concert lead boost volume when you are trying to pick your top leads sounds all alone and no one else is playing scares sound guys. If I wait, I am usually am told to turn up.
 

mlkIII

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,297
Yeah sound guys really love the ampless stuff bc it gives them more control over everything. I think they’re great for fly rigs and definitely can sound great for anything but I’ll never pick one over a great tube amp. That’s just me though. I had a FM3 and truly thought it sounded great but I’m an amp guy at heart.

with that being said, I really dig amp heads that have IR features on board. I just got a PT-100 that I absolutely love and am pining for a PT-15 IR. I use a Captor X all the time at home for silent recording and practice and think it’s an indispensable tool. I am a fan of tubes though. Especially in a live show.
 

Hamer95USA

Member
Messages
3,051
I use a real tube amp onstage. I also use a Palmer PDI-09 direct box for the guitar amp sound to the P.A. and bring a Clearsonic amp shield to keep the amp sound from firing into the audience's face if they're close to the stage. I've only had a couple of issues with certain sound guys who want to be control freak Nazis, complain, and hassle musicians who use real amps onstage. I'm grateful that both of the bands that I work in either have their own sound system controlled by the band or have a sound guy who knows & respects our music and the equipment we use onstage.

Guitar George
 

Voodoo Bob

Member
Messages
867
What it comes down to is a sound person should be able to work with anything loud enough to be heard on stage or run direct. What is impossible to work with are people playing small clubs and cranking their half stacks so loud it buries the PA System. I own scalable systems that "can" get over any full stack you throw at it but I am doing local club gigs and smallish outdoor venues. Half stacks and 100w tube amps were designed for much larger venues. This is a fact.

Now, I have worked with many bands that know how to use a half stack properly in a smaller venue but TBH lately they are getting fewer and farther between. Is it the new region I work in now? Maybe. I know back east the direct thing was really catching fire a couple years ago and yes I much prefer that, but I certainly don't treat anyone any differently no matter what they show up with. I may have a talk with the band members about stage volume beforehand and if I get a soundcheck I will try to keep them in check beforehand but I cant be on stage with people during the performance so I cant control their volume knobs.

I have packed up in the middle of a gig once. It was a well known metal/hard rock cover band in the area that was having a reunion show. 2 full Marshall stacks and a 3,000 watt bass rig. Honestly I should have never taken the gig to begin with but they were/are friends of mine. From their first aural barrage the patrons ran for the doors. They started with about 200 people and by the time I packed up and left after the 2nd set there were about 10 people not counting the staff. I asked them nicely after the first set to turn way down and was ignored. Actually the more people that left, the louder they turned up. They played well and weren't out of tune, they just were way too loud for this venue. 117db @ 10ft is what I measured that night.

These were guys in their 40's and 50's. Experienced players, good players and they acted like children.

In general I dont run into this stuff too much but I have had players tell me they know how to control their volume properly and yada yada only to turn around and blast the first couple rows of people so hard they leave.

Trust me I get it. I love cranking my 100w tube head through a 4x12. It's almost a religious experience. Unfortunately small to medium venues that serve food and booze aren't the place for it typically.

It is what it is. Times have changed. Smaller venues (50-250 cap) especially ones that serve booze and food want their patrons to be able to communicate with the servers and bar staff without screaming. The days of smoky bars with rock bands blasting their half stacks at people are pretty much over. There are some that still appreciate that but not very many. I do miss those days as a performer.

The choice I made was to stay playing music for people at tolerable volumes. I shoot for 85-90db @ 10ft whether it's a band I am in or a band I am doing sound for. That's loud but it's not enough to drive most people out.
 
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modulusman

Member
Messages
2,102
Not sure what you’re talking about. I’ve played hundreds of clubs over the years with 4x12’s.
Back in the ‘80’s my buddy and I would gig together and run two to three full stacks in the clubs.
It’s very doable. Unless you’re doing it wrong.
Back in the 80s you were probably playing clubs with stages. Now days seams like most bands doing bar gigs are set up on the floor in a corner.
 

JZG

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,611
[/QUOTE]
Dude, this is SO true! So many sound techs and even managers and club owners totally don't understand how important it is for the musicians to be comfortable and welcomed. I have a regular gig where the entire time I'm worrying about stage volume because that's all the owner cares about and my playing always suffers. I'm glad you brought that up, it's something I very much feel and agree with.
[/QUOTE]

This might by a topic for another thread, but I complain about this a lot. I've walked into several gigs where nobody talks to you. Just a simple "hello, how are you, need anything?" can really set the tone for everybody to have a good night. My band did a gig a couple years ago where we played an entire night and not one person from the venue spoke to us.
 

Voodoo Bob

Member
Messages
867
Back in the 80s you were probably playing clubs with stages. Now days seams like most bands doing bar gigs are set up on the floor in a corner.

One thing I was glad to see out here in NM was most places have stages. Back East where I moved from you got a rug in the corner if you were lucky in most places.
 

ballynally

Member
Messages
2,275
Well, you have to plug into something. Your cab IS your personal monitor whether using a valve or solid state amp.
The sound engineer can take it from there.
If you use a modeller you can do two things: bring your own monitor or rely on the sound engineer.
Anyway: be NICE to your sound engineer in any case, even a bad one.
Dont treat him with contempt. It will backfire.
You want him to be on your side so be super helpful.
If you piss him off you will pay the price.

Edit: if you DO use your own speaker you at least have control over your stage sound and you will still be able to connect w the players around you.
If u completely rely on the soundguy to provide a stage monitor mix you leave yourself wide open and you cant really complain too much if things go wrong as he is busy with everyone. If you bring your own soundguy thats different.
 
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thanagar

Member
Messages
183
Legit topic though…. I know more players going this route all this time. I stopped gigging a few years back and rarely play a tube amp anymore, I did keep a Classic 30 for that “amp moment”. If I were to play out I would seriously consider giving the modeling thing a go. At home digital a no brainer for me, sounds good enough and doesn’t drive everyone in the house crazy.
This is me, down to the Classic 30. I feel that I should probably sell it, but I can't bring myself to do it...just yet.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,805
...
Anyway: be NICE to your sound engineer in any case, even a bad one.
Dont treat him with contempt. It will backfire.
You want him to be on your side so be super helpful.
If you piss him off you will pay the price.

That's the truth. Most sound guys I run into don't know what they're doing. I try to help them out without being in the way. I always try to buy them a drink or something. Talk to them a bit. Get on their good side. Even if they don't know and don't care about what they're doing, you don't want them mad at you.
 

BlueRiff

Member
Messages
7,067
This made me laugh out loud. Did a fill in gig this past Friday and brought one of my small combos. Sound guy looked at my small combo and frowned and said, "nobody uses real amps anymore." I couldn't help but laugh. Nobody? Okay. Five minutes later, he said the same thing to the bass player who brought his bass amp. The next day I played at an outdoor festival and told the guys running sound about the dude from the night before and it made THEM laugh out loud. They asked if my previous night's gig was at a church LOL!

Not only do I not have any issue with folks who have an ampless rig, I have one myself and use it when it makes sense. But at a club where the crowd noise is so loud we have to shout to each other on stage to hear ourselves, I don't think a small combo is gonna throw off the sound guy's goal of the most precise and stellar mix of all time.
My keyboard friend had me play at a church service. He tells me they have full set up including amp back stage mic’d (Line 6) - just plug and play with in ears. But he says for me to bring my amp - he doesn’t want me playing through that (he has a distain for digital amps). So we hit the front door and the church sound guy immediately meets as as we’re walking in “you can turn around right now and take that amp back to the car!!!”. He and my friend start a huge argument in the entrance. So the guy says - “lose the amp or leave”. We put the amp back in the car. I plug into the setup they had - no sound from Line 6 amp - they couldn’t diagnose the issue (lights were on but no sound). Ultimately, my amp made it to the pulpit!!
 

ballynally

Member
Messages
2,275
That's the truth. Most sound guys I run into don't know what they're doing. I try to help them out without being in the way. I always try to buy them a drink or something. Talk to them a bit. Get on their good side. Even if they don't know and don't care about what they're doing, you don't want them mad at you.

When meeting a soundguy my first line is:"can i do anything for you?".
After that everything is ok..
He might suck at his job but it is HIS. Nothing you can do about it.
If your fellow musicians dont listen and play too loud constantly...leave.
 

NotTheArrow

Member
Messages
1,757
Back in the 80s you were probably playing clubs with stages. Now days seams like most bands doing bar gigs are set up on the floor in a corner.
Likely.
We used to play a lot of actual clubs. Clubs that were set up for live bands. I think you're correct. Things transitioned into eating establishments that put a band in the corner. I really don't like playing restaurants.
 

NotTheArrow

Member
Messages
1,757
the church sound guy immediately meets as as we’re walking in “you can turn around right now and take that amp back to the car!!!”. He and my friend start a huge argument in the entrance.

So the guy says - “lose the amp or leave”.

That'd be my cue.

I played at a church for quite some time. We buried a Twin Reverb and Deluxe Reverb in the back of the stage and mic'd them. I ran a stereo delay to them. My tone was heavenly. One of the best tones I've ever heard. Simple, clean. Original Zendrive, BB Preamp, Keeley Baked TS-9, CH-1, TC Delay. Great Stratocaster, glass bottle slide.

I've got a pic of that rig somewhere.
 

Sean6247

Member
Messages
642
I definitely can see some advantages to ampless, but can you make feedback? I’m no Hendrix, but a lot of my thing is amp-guitar interaction. How does that work?
I bring a FRFR speaker which I place in from of me at a rather low volume. I monitor through in ears so the cab is only for guitar amp interaction and only has my guitar going through it.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,497
Having gigged in weekend warrior hobby bands for 50 some years I'm probably too old school...but I can't imagine playing a live gig ampless.

However, the times I had to go gigging direct (due to equipment problems) I hated not having that guitar/amp/air interaction...but I finished the gig and suffered with a monitor feed.

Having a good amp behind me somehow helps me feel the notes in the air and their nuances as I play them, and being able to pull occasional controlled feedback is great. Put another way, to me, there's more to playing electric guitar than just playing the right notes. I have to enjoy what I'm doing and, for me, a good amp is part of the enjoyment experience. The amp is at least half of the electric guitar as an instrument. To me, it would sort of be like playing acoustic guitar stuffed with rags...at least half of the tone/sound would be gone.

However, if I were at a gig just to make a buck and be on my way, well ok, I can stamp sonic widgets on a proverbial production line as well as the next guy, but it would be more a job and not fun for me. I don't care how big/good the PA or how great the monitors, nothing beats a real guitar amp moving a little air...at least to this old fart;)!
 
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